Saturday, July 24, 2021

Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense LXX

I had the honor of presenting a paper, "The God Who Communicates: A Study in the Characterization of God in Hebrews" at the 70th session of the Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense (CBL). I want to publicly thank Régis Burnet for the invitation to present at this conference.

"The Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense is an annual international conference on Biblical Studies jointly organised by the theological faculties of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Université Catholique de Louvain. The meetings take place in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the KU Leuven and are alternately dedicated to a topic in Old and in New Testament Studies. 

The Colloquium offers a forum and meeting place for research and scholarly discussion in the field of Biblical Studies. As a rule the annual conference focuses on a biblical book or a collection of writings, but it also addresses thematic subjects."

The CBL met during the dates of July 22–24, 2021. Due to the pandemic, the CBL was held in an online format. This year's CBL was organized by the president, professor Régis Burnet, and the secretary, Reimund Bieringer. Papers and sessions were conducted in four languages. It was truly an international session. The following plenary session papers were presented:

Presidential Address: 
Régis BURNET (Université catholique de Louvain)
Quel but poursuit l’Épître aux Hébreux ? Une histoire des lectures du cadre interprétatif de la théologie d’Hébreux
Gabriella GELARDINI (Bodø, Norway)
Virtues in Hebrews
Jason WHITLARK (Baylor University)
Becoming Ideal Citizens of the Coming City: New-Covenant Naturalization in Early Christianity and Hebrews
Thomas WITULSKI (Universität Bielefeld)
Die Vorstellungen von Zeit und Raum im Hebräerbrief
Harold ATTRIDGE (Yale University) 
The Letter to the Hebrews and the Authority of Scripture
Antoine PARIS (Paris)
 « Car la parole de Dieu est vivante »
La productivité des intertextes dans l'Épître aux Hébreux
David M. MOFFITT (Saint Andrews)
Boldly Approaching While Still Waiting: The Dynamics of Heavenly Access and Jesus’ Awaited Return in Hebrews’ Soteriology
Brian C. SMALL
The God Who Communicates: A Study in the Characterization of God in Hebrews
Gert STEYN (Theologische Hochschule Ewersbach) 
Der "Brief" an die Hebräer und die Apolloshypothese
Albert COETSEE (North-West University)
"Through the eternal Spirit” (Heb 9:14): The Arguments for and Implications of Interpreting the Phrase as a Reference to the Holy Spirit
Martin KARRER (Wuppertal-Bethel) 
Textgeschichte und Theologie des Hebräerbriefs
In addition four parallel seminars were offered:
Joseph VERHEYDEN (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
Het vocabulaire van de Hebreeënbrief: Woorden met privatieve α en andere vormen van ontkenning
Madison N. PIERCE (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
The World Spoken through the Son: Divine Speech and Creation in the Epistle to the Hebrews
Steeve BÉLANGER (Université catholique de Louvain)
La figure de Melkisédeq dans l'épître aux Hébreux
Reimund BIERINGER (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
Deutungen des Todes Jesu im Hebräerbrief
In addition, three parallel sessions consisting of offered papers were presented:
[Click the link for the abstracts]
Session 1:
Rémi Fatchéoun
Institut Catholique de Paris
Heb 1:1-4: A Prologue to a Discourse on the Son of God as Logos or a Son who is Prophet?
Justin Devassy Puthenpurackal
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
The Realized and the Future Eschatology of τελειωτής in Heb 12:1-2
Armin Kummer and Sarah Whitear
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Undefiled Beds and Unparted Ways: Hebrews 13:4 and Sexual Purity Practices
Session 2:
Martin Pochon
Centre d'Etudes Pédagogiques Ignatien, Toulouse
De l'utilisation du psaume 39/40 dans la lettre aux Hébreux
Kyu Seop Kim
Asia United Theological University, R. of Korea
Ἐπαγγελία in Hebrews in Light of Greco-Egyptian Documentary Papyri
Soeng Yu Li
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Πίστις in Heb 11:1-16: A Reading in Light of Text World Theory
Session 3:
 Jean Valentin
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Hébr. 1,1-4 en arabe dans le Vatican 13 et les manuscrits du Sinaï
Valentina Duca
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
A Syriac Case for the Reception of Hebrews: Isaac of Nineveh's Ascetic-Mystical Corpus
Vadim Wittkowsky
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Der Hebräerbrief als Hintergrund der "Exempla Biblica" aus Ankara (Mitchell-French 2019, Nr. 347, 348)

Friday, July 9, 2021

Distributions of the Holy Spirit - Hebrews 2:4

In this brief podcast Madions Pierce argues that "distributions of the Holy Spirit" in Hebrews 2:4 refers not to spiritual gifts, as is commonly understood, but to the Holy Spirit himself. She does not mention this in the podcast but this means that she is taking πνεύματος ἁγίου as an objective genitive (the Holy Spirit is distributed) rather than as a subjective genitive (the Holy Spirit is distributing). This is certainly grammatically possible.

Distributions of the Holy Spirit: Hebrews 2:4 - with Dr. Madison Pierce


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Hebrews Highlights June 2021

Ken Schenck has posted his explanatory notes on Hebrews 1:1–4.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

New Expository Times Article

O’Collins, Gerald Glynn. “‘The Faith of Jesus’: Translating Hebrews 12:2a.” Expository Times 132.9 (2021): 387–93.

"This article shows how a big majority of English translations (17 out of 22 that I examined) have introduced ‘our’ into the text when they identify the subject of the ‘faith’ spoken of in Hebrews 12:2a. Modern commentators on Hebrews, however, have overwhelmingly understood the faith in question as the faith exercised by Jesus and, at best only secondarily, our faith in him. It seems that many translators have been following their predecessors (e.g. the King James Version) rather than reading commentaries."

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Three Forthcoming Books

There are three books on Hebrews that are coming up on the horizon--all published in the The Library of New Testament series by T&T Clark:

Nick Brennan. Divine Christology in the Epistle to the Hebrews: The Son as God.

"Nick Brennan investigates the depiction of the Son in his divine nature in the Epistle to the Hebrews; despite little attention being given toto the Son's divinity, Brennan argues that not only is the Son depicted as divine in the Epistle, but that this depiction ranges outside the early chapters in which it is most often noted, and is theologically relevant to the pattern of the Author's argument.

Beginning with a survey of the state of contemporary scholarship on the Son's divinity in Hebrews, and a discussion of the issues connected to predicating divinity of the Son in the Epistle, Brennan analyses the application of Old Testament texts to the Son which, in their original context, refer to God (1:6; 10–12), and demonstrates how the Pastor not only affirms the Son's divinity but also the significance of his exaltation as God. He then discusses how Heb 3:3, 4 does witness to the divinity of the Son in Hebrews, explores the debate on the relation of the Son's “indestructible life” (Heb 7:16) to his divinity, and demonstrates how two key concepts in Hebrews (covenant and sonship) reinforce the Son's divinity. Brennan thus concludes that the Epistle not only portrays the Son as God, but does so in a manner which is a pervasive aspect of its thought, and is theologically salient to many features of the Epistle's argument."


David Young. The Concept of Canon in the Reception of the Epistle to the Hebrews

"David Young argues that the reception of the Epistle to the Hebrews in early Christianity was influenced by a number of factors which had little to do with debates about an authoritative canon of Christian writings, and which were primarily the concern of a relatively small group of highly educated scholars.

Through careful study of the quotations and reproductions of Hebrews in their own rhetorical and material context, Young stresses that the concept of canon had little bearing on its early reception. By exploring the transformation of authorship into authority, the patristic citations of Hebrews, the Epistle's position in edited collections of the Pauline corpus and the consequences of translation, this complex reception history illustrates the myriad ways in which early Christians thought of and interacted with their scriptures."


Jihye Lee. A Jewish Apocalyptic Framework of Eschatology in the Epistle to the Hebrews: Protology and Eschatology as Background.

"In contrast to scholarly belief that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews envisions the transcendent, heavenly world as the eschatological inheritance of God's people, Jihye Lee argues that a version of an Urzeit-Endzeit eschatological framework - as observed in some Jewish apocalyptic texts - provides a plausible background against which the arguments of Hebrews are most comprehensively explained. Instead of transcendence to the heavenly world that will come after the destruction of the shakable creation, Lee suggests the possibility of a more dualistic new world.

By first defining Urzeit-Endzeit eschatology, Lee is then able to explore its place in both pre and post 70 CE Second Temple Judaism. In examining Enoch, the Qumran Texts, Jubilees, the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch and finally the Book of Revelation, Lee compares a multitude of eschatological visions and the different depictions of the transformation of the world, judgement and the new world to come. Bringing these texts together to analyse the issue of God's Rest in Hebrews, and the nature of the Unshakable Kingdom, Lee concludes that Hebrews envisions the kingdom as consisting of both the revealed heavenly world and the renewed creation as the eschatological venue of God's dwelling place with his people."

The Paradox of Sonship

I just received my copy of this newly published book by Intervarsity Press:

R. B. Jamieson. The Paradox of Sonship: Christology in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

"What does the epistle to the Hebrews mean when it calls Jesus "Son"? Is "Son" a title that denotes his eternal existence as one person of the Trinity? Or is it a title Jesus receives upon his installation on heaven's throne after his resurrection and ascension?

In this Studies in Christian Doctrine and Scripture (SCDS) volume, which promotes fresh understandings of Christian belief through creative, faithful readings of the canonical text, pastor and New Testament scholar R. B. Jamieson probes the complexity of the Christology presented in the epistle to the Hebrews.

Exploring the paradox of this key term, Jamieson argues that, according to Hebrews, "Son" names both who Jesus is eternally and what he becomes at the climax of his incarnate, saving mission. Jesus is, in short, the eternal Son who became the messianic Son for us and for our salvation. This volume thereby offers a case study showing how the church's core convictions about Christ lead us not away from the text, but deeper into it."

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Deciphering the Worlds of Hebrews

I have just been alerted to the publication of this book, which apparently is a collection of Gelardini's essays:

Deciphering the Worlds of Hebrews: Collected Essays


"In the collection entitled Deciphering the Worlds of Hebrews Gabriella Gelardini gathers fifteen essays written in the last fifteen years, twelve of which are in English and three in German. Arranged in three parts (the world of, behind, and in front of Hebrews’s text), her articles deal with such topics as structure and intertext, sin and faith, atonement and cult, as well as space and resistance.

She reads Hebrews no longer as the enigmatic and homeless outsider within the New Testament corpus, as the “Melchizedekian being without genealogy”; rather, she reads Hebrews as one whose origin has finally been rediscovered, namely in Second Temple Judaism."

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

New Hebrews Article in JBL

Joseph, Simon J. “‘In the Days of His Flesh, He Offered Up Prayers’: Reimagining the Sacrifice(s) of Jesus in the Letter to the Hebrews.” Journal of Biblical Literature 140.1 (2021): 207–27. 

"The Letter to the Hebrews is generally regarded as the most sacrificial text in the New Testament. This article argues that Hebrews, read within the wider context of sacrificial discourse in the ancient Mediterranean world, not only represents a textual moment in the rhetorical dissociation of the early Jesus movement from the sacrificial cult in Jerusalem but also reflects the rhetorical obfuscation of Jesus’s sacrificial self-offering as it was being replaced by an emphasis on the interpretation of Jesus’s death as sacrifice, with the result being the inevitable sacrifice of the former for the latter in early Christian discourse."

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Monday, March 15, 2021

New Dissertation on the Theme of Promise in Hebrews

Stevens, Daniel Joseph. “A Promise Remains: A Study of Promise in the Epistle to the Hebrews.” Ph.D. diss., King’s College, 2019. 

"Despite receiving little direct attention, the theme of promise often features in scholars’ discussions of the central themes of the Epistle to the Hebrews, with some even asserting that promise is the foundational motif of the entire work. However, the way in which the author of Hebrews portrays divine promises and uses them to contribute to the structure of his theology has not yet been satisfactorily described. What the author means by promise, how promise relates to other types of divine commitments, and the content and timing of the promise’s fulfilment all need clarification and more precise attention. Through an exegesis of the relevant passages of Hebrews, this thesis provides a new reading of promise in Hebrews. After an exegesis of the epistle, I then describe Hebrews’ overall theology of promise. I argue that, unlike in previous analyses, rest is not the primary content of promise, nor is it the primary lens through which the other instances of promise language should be understood. On the contrary, I argue that the promise is most closely associated with the benefits promised to Abraham, and then mediated through the various subsequent covenants. Further, while previous studies have left it unclear how the divine promise relates to both the Old and New Covenants, I argue that Hebrews develops a view of salvation history in which covenants are founded upon promises and then bring those promises to fruition. This is true of both the Old and New Covenants, though in different ways. I then demonstrate the ways in which this understanding of promise sheds light on the author’s hermeneutic and on his method of achieving his hortatory purposes for the epistle. Finally, I conclude by re-asserting the consistency of the author’s thought regarding promise and by addressing questions raised by earlier studies of this theme."

New Dissertation on the Pneumatology of Hebrews

I have added the following dissertation to the Theses & Dissertations page:

Hodson, Alan. “The Pneumatology of the Letter to the Hebrews: Confused, Careless, Cavalier, or Carefully Crafted?” Ph.D. diss., University of Chester, 2019. 

"It is the majority position that Hebrews has little to add to NT pneumatology (see §1.1). However, that is far from the case. Indeed, on all seven occasions that the author of Hebrews refers to the Spirit, he does so using language and concepts that are unique in the NT. The Spirit both speaks (λέγω) words of Scripture (3:7) and testifies (μαρτυρέω) from Scripture (10:15) using words elsewhere described as God’s words to the congregation. Elsewhere in the NT, when the Spirit ‘speaks’ he does so through human agents (see §§4.3-4.4). However, in Hebrews he speaks directly to the hearers without the need for an intermediary (see §4.5). Furthermore, the Spirit interprets (δηλόω) Scripture (9:8) and this is the only place in the NT where the Spirit is said to function as hermeneut (see §§4.5.3, 8.3.1). The phrase ‘Spirit of grace’ (10:29) is also a NT hapax and ‘Eternal Spirit’ (9:14) is a Biblical hapax. In addition, the concept of believers becoming μέτοχοι of the Spirit (6:4) and the description of God validating the gospel message by ‘distributing’ (μερισμός) the Holy Spirit to followers of Christ (2:4) are also unique to Hebrews. After undertaking a close examination of all seven divine-πνεῦμα texts in Hebrews this thesis concludes that Hebrews has a significant, developed and unique pneumatology (§8.1). The author portrays the Spirit as personal, eternal and divine (§§8.2.2-8.2.4). He is actively involved in the atonement and the New Covenant (§8.3.3), showing the need for such a covenant (§8.3.1) and providing a partnership with each member of the New Covenant Community such that the Spirit enables that which the Covenant requires (§8.3.3). The Holy Spirit plays a crucial role in Hebrews. Both author and congregation experienced him as God, co-equal with the Father and the Son. In fact, Hebrews’ underlying pneumatology displays what might be called ‘Trinitarian coinherence’ (§§8.2.1, 8.4)."

Philip Church Articles

The newest article by Philip Church:

Church, Philip. “The Punctuation of Hebrews 10:2 and Its Significance for the Date of Hebrews.” Tyndale Bulletin 71 (2020): 281–92.

Also, I have added the following articles to our Articles and Essays page:

Church, Philip. “Hebrews 1:10–12 and the Renewal of the Cosmos.” Tyndale Bulletin 67.2 (2016): 269–86.

Church, Philip. “The Temple in the Apocalypse of Weeks and in Hebrews.” Tyndale Bulletin 64.1 (2013): 109–28.

Thanks to Philip for the heads up on these articles.

Monday, March 8, 2021

New Article on the Use of Psalm 40 in Hebrews 10

Ribbens, Benjamin J. “The Sacrifice of God Desired: Psalm 40.6–8 in Hebrews 10.” New Testament Studies 67.2 (2021): 284–304.
"Scholars often argue that Hebrews uses Psalm 40 in Heb 10.5–10 to emphasise obedience, either stressing Christ's lived obedience on earth or suggesting that obedience replaces sacrifice. However, Hebrews does not use Psalm 40 to highlight obedience but to identify another sacrificial offering. Christ's offering is the cultic offering that pleases God and achieves God's salvific will. While God did not take pleasure in Levitical sacrifices, he did command them and promise that they would achieve certain effects. The first covenant sacrifices achieved atonement and forgiveness because they were shadows that anticipated and participated in Christ's offering."

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

New Article on Hebrews 2:12

Dyer, Bryan R. “‘In the Midst of the Assembly I Will Praise You’: Hebrews 2:12 and Its Contribution to the Argument of the Epistle.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament (2021).
"This article studies Ps. 21.23 LXX in Heb. 2.12 and zeroes in on the fascinating image that it presents: Jesus worshipping within the Christian community. This image is sometimes lost as it appears in the second half of a quotation in which the first part seems to make the more significant point (Jesus’ solidarity with his siblings). Yet this striking image of Jesus praising God makes an important theological and sociological contribution to the epistle’s argument. As this article will argue, this image contributes to a larger attempt by the author to solidify commitment to the community and ground the group’s identity in Jesus."